Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest draws record participants

The 2013 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest has drawn a record 326 entries, competition officials announced Wednesday.

Entries were submitted by 296 individuals from 106 communities throughout Wisconsin and include participants from 22 communities that have never before been represented in the contest.

The business plan contest is designed to nurture entrepreneurs through the early development stages of high-tech startup companies over the course of six months. In its 10th year, the competition tallied 99 entries in the information technology category, 122 in business services, 67 in advanced manufacturing and 38 in life sciences.

Prizes total $100,000 in financial support and in-kind services for startups.

“Wisconsin entrepreneurs have once again demonstrated they have strong ideas and a willingness to undertake the hard work of transforming those ideas into businesses,” said Mark Bugher, chairman of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the contest each year.

More than 70 judges with experience in creating companies, developing technologies, investing in startup projects and providing services to new companies are beginning round one of the judging process this week. About 50 plans will advance to round two of the competition in late February.

Semi-finalists will then participate in a boot camp in early March with final presentations of business plans taking place at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Middleton, Wis., in June.

“The response to this year’s contest demonstrates that entrepreneurs with good ideas can be found in all corners of Wisconsin,” said Tom Still, president of the Tech Council.

Since the business plan competition launched in 2004, it has collected more than 2,600 entries from 2,214 contestants representing 280 communities in the state and has awarded a total $1.5 million in cash and in-kind prizes. For more information about the competition, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com.

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